The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has released the latest revised draft amendments of rules relating to the well integrity issues of well casing, cementing, drilling and completions, cathodic protection wells, and seismic holes and core holes. The draft revisions are being circulated for an informal comment period, which is to end Dec. 31. The revisions are in response to comments RRC staff has received so far. The proposals are working drafts that have not been finalized and have not been submitted to the Texas Register for publication for public comment. Revisions are proposed to rules relating to cement sheath thickness; drilling fluid programs; isolation of productive zones; surface casing testing; cement specifications, quality and requirements; new requirements for wells that are to be hydraulically fractured (fracked); minimum separation of wells to be fracked; and well control/blowout preventer and pipeline shut-off valve requirements. One of the proposed revisions would ban fracking at noncemented wells when the zone being fracked ends within 1,000 vertical feet of a usable aquifer.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking volunteers for its annual midwinter count of bald eagles in the Pinedale area of Wyoming. The bald eagle survey will take place Jan. 12. Those interested in taking part should meet at the BLM Pinedale Field Office at 5 p.m. on Jan. 10. Survey coordinators at that meeting will coach people on how to identify eagles and will be assigning survey routes to volunteers. The BLM said it needs two-person observation teams for the survey. The idea is that one person is able to drive safely while the other keeps an eye out for eagles. The nationwide bald eagle survey has taken place every winter since 1979.

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